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Overview
 

The Agriculture Conservation Experienced Services Program, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, and implemented in USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices throughout the country, is a legislative older worker program for those 55 and older. ACES is a grants-based program administrated through a 5-year umbrella agreement between NOWCC and NRCS.

ACES Program was modeled after the Senior Environmental Employment (SEE) Program at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

NOWCC has developed this ACES Handbook as an informational tool for the purpose of acquainting you with the policies, procedures, benefits and restrictions that affect your participation in the Agriculture Conservation Experience Service (ACES) Program. This Handbook is also a source of information for USDA-NRCS ACES Coordinators and Monitors.

Provisions outlined in the ACES Handbook are not intended to bestow any rights or privileges on Enrollees or guarantee employment for any definite period of time. Enrollment in the ACES Program is temporary. The enrollment relationship between NOWCC and the Enrollee is an at will relationship. This means that an Enrollee is free to terminate his or her enrollment at any time during the enrollment period, and NOWCC and USDA-NRCS have the right to terminate the relationship with the Enrollee.
 

ACES Program Participants (Enrollees), assist NRCS at its headquarters, state and local offices. Enrollees serve in technical capacities and carry out a variety of assignments.

As a member of this talented group, you will help NRCS preserve, protect, and enhance our natural resources.

For complete information about benefits, policies and procedures, please contact your NOWCC Field Office Staff.

Ask your Monitor to:   Contact your NOWCC Field Office if you:
  • clarify assignments
  • determine regular work schedules
  • approve timesheets
  • approve leave
  • resolve initial problems

 

 
  • have problems filling out your electronic timesheet
  • have questions about the use of leave or other benefits
  • have questions about your paycheck
  • are returning to your assignment after an extended medical absence
  • have a problem you cannot resolve with your Monitor
  • have concerns about your health or safety
  • are injured while on duty
 
 

Enrollment Agreement 

Under the federal statutory structure of the ACES Program, ACES Enrollees do not have employee status with either NRCS or NOWCC. Enrollees are not eligible to receive the benefits accorded to Federal government employees nor NOWCC employees.  Enrollees are eligible to receive benefits listed in this enrollee handbook.

Before an enrollee can begin an assignment under the ACES Program an Enrollment Agreement must be executed.  Enrollment agreements are between the Participant (Enrollee) and NOWCC.

An hourly increase may be granted by the State Coordinator on the Enrollee's yearly anniversary until a maximum wage for the position level is reached.

Position Level Starting Wage Range
1 $11.33 - $24.99
2 $14.16 - $34.99
3 $20.53 - $49.99
4 $30.80 - $80.00

Health & Safety


Because ACES Enrollees frequently work in field settings, it is critical that Enrollees adhere to the following guidelines for avoiding accidents:

  • Know the safety rules and follow every precaution to protect yourself and your colleagues from injury and illness.
  • Know the standard procedures for the tasks you perform and use all required protective equipment.
  • Report all unsafe conditions, practices and equipment.
  • Obtain first aid for every injury, however minor it may seem.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if seriously injured.

Workers Compensation


Report any work-related accident, injury or illness at the earliest opportunity to your Monitor who will contact the NOWCC Field Office with details. The NOWCC ACES Program workers' compensation insurance carrier (The Hartford) will be notified by the NOWCC Field Office if necessary.

It is important to seek immediate medical attention if seriously injured.

If You Leave the Program


A resignation should be submitted in writing, with notice, if possible. Remember to address your resignation to your NOWCC Field Office and copy your Monitor.

Prior to Leaving: All NRCS property must be returned to your Monitor.

Last Paycheck: Your final paycheck will be issued to you in the same manner you have requested for all paychecks to be issued.  It will include pay for any unused vacation leave (up to 80 hours) and hours worked during your last pay period.